Sunday 12 August 2012

Wizard Rifle - 'Speak Loud Say Nothing' (Album Review)

By: Aaron Pickford

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 7/05/ 2012
Label: Seventh Rule Recordings

I cannot tell you enough how incredible this record is.  There are not enough superlatives available to do this record justice.  It is the work of genius and I absolutely, unequivocally love it.  I hope you guys will too.

‘Speak Loud, Say Nothing CD//DD//LP track Listing

1. Tears Won’t Soften Steel 06:23
2. Frazetta 04:58
3. Megatherium 07:29
4. Nobody 07:06
5. Leathery Gentleman 10:32

Wizard Rifle is

Sam Ford | Drums, vocals
Max Dameron | Guitar, vocals

The Review:

In terms of reviewing records for this here blog, I often find myself searching for new words or ways of describing music in order to keep things fresh and inventive.  More so, to keep things interesting for you, the reader, because you don't want to be reading the same thing over and over again!  When it comes to Wizard RifleSpeak Loud Say Nothing’, there is not one word or even a series of words to describe just how spectacular they are.   They are truly unique and I would say they're in a genre of one, that being themselves. Indeed, Wizard Rifle are peerless!  What they have done with this record is to create some kind of ungodly hybrid monster, made up of many different parts, but brought together to live and breathe as one.  ‘Speak Loud, Say Nothing’ is some kind of monster.  It is undefined, unrestrained and frankly bewildering, and I love it!

‘Tears Won't Soften Steel’ is the album opener and you are immediately subjected to the din of whammy type effects from the guitar, with waves of screeching feedback and pulsating drums.  Then there are twists and turns from some audacious guitar playing by Max Dameron.  The first minutes of the track sums up what you should expect from the record.  The pace is fast, frenetic and riffy as hell, drawing comparisons to the intensity of the band Lightning Bolt,  there is so much going on, it is mesmerising.  Sam and Max are incredible musicians and this record is a showcase of their talents, seemingly pushing themselves to the very limits of their abilities and beyond. Galloped riffs are interplayed with whammy pedal effects with incredulous intricacy.  Max shredding the guitar with virtuosic procession and Sam Ford practically falling off his kit in his attempts to keep up with the frantic pace of the track, let us not forget also, that this is some heavy stuff too, with crunchy riffs in abundance.  What a spectacular start and I found myself truly absorbed, once I had picked up my jaw from the floor. 

Frazetta’ is another fantastic track, perhaps an ode to renowned fantasy and science fiction artist Frank Frazetta,  Wizard Rifle unleash another barbarous whacked out dose of wonderment, this track is no less intricate and vocally it is performed with humour and vigour in the same breathe.  Reminding me at times of Daron Malakian of System of a Down, the duo use their instruments like weapons, positively scything through this track.  It is as if they are duelling against each other and they do so with unbounded exuberance and complete surrender of inhibitions in their performances.  They do not bow down to restraints and Wizard Rifle will fight to uphold their honour.  This is a much heavier track, with chugging riffs and deep vibrato notes, with the tone of the guitar sounding fat and bass heavy. Max Dameron is at one with his instrument and reminds me of a virtuosic Jack White, with the bluesy vibe of his tone and say the technicality of Steve Vai.  What a combination and it totally works. 

‘Megatherium’ starts with a mournful sloth like pace of the clean arpeggios, only giving way to a disgustingly heavy doom like riff.  It sounds colossal and it is as heavy as the Megatherium’s presumed 4 ton bulk.  This track is just another measure of this band, as it showcases their many facets.   The opening minute of track sounds like the music from an emotional scene from a silent movie, before Wizard Rifle butt end you in the face, with the distorted heaviness of their arsenal.  At the 2:00 mark you get the slow doom riff I remarked upon earlier.  It is so bloody heavy, with an Alice in Chains like quality to the harmony vocals.  It ambles along with the aforementioned sloth like pace  with only the magnificence of the distortion for company.  It is performed with swagger and gusto with Boastful or conceited expression.  Braggadocio if you will.  During the final 2:00 of the track, Max once again produces the guitar histrionics in spades, scaling the neck of his guitar with precision and flair, finishing the track with off kilter splendour.

‘Nobody’ is Wizard Rifle at their weird and archaic best with a kinda math core angular vibe to the track.  It is imprecise, ambiguous, off kilter and just plain crazy, as if the band have been affected with madness themselves.  It is truly an insane track.   It knows no boundaries in terms of the dynamics, because it is beyond categorisation.  If you like your music left of centre and frankly bizarre, this is the track for you.  At the end it goes from supremely heavy riffs to an influence of native American rainmaking chants, with Sam Ford beating his drums like a banshee.  It is as if the band have been transported into Mike Patton's brain, such is the similarities to the ambience of this track and that of the Tomahawk album, ‘Anonymous’.  This track is just plain bonkers.   

Finshing off the record with ‘Leathery Gentlemen’, at over 10 mins, it is an epic track and incorporates much of what has come before it.  Given the songs title you can't help but think the band have a wry smile on their face.  Yet, there is nothing funny about this track; it is startling in its caustic brutality, once the palm muted arpeggios, gives way to the blistering and relentless riff abuse from Max Dameron.  It is perhaps not unforeseen, but the heaviosity of the tyrannous subjugation of riffs is just downright oppressive and bitch slaps you awake.  It is like a maelstrom or conflagration you have no means of escaping from.  Bloody brilliant I say.  There is a comparison again to the talents of System of a Down and the quirkier moments of their back catalogue, e.g. ‘Vicinity of Obscenity’.  ‘Leathery Gentlemen’ is cooky as hell but ferociously heavy.  Again there is variety in abundance, often with the band straying into the freneticism of Lightning Bolt.  It is just a Herculean sized track that takes you on a wild and wonderful journey.  Often unpredictable but never boring, this is one Leathery Gentleman you will not wish to ignore.  It is an absolute belter of a track with the finality of track spliced with atmosphere and tribal drumming.  It then veers off tangentially to perhaps the most bat shit crazy moment of the entire album, blazing like an inferno until it reaches its natural end. 

I cannot tell you enough how incredible this record is.  There are not enough superlatives available to do this record justice.  It is the work of genius and I absolutely, unequivocally love it.  I hope you guys will too.

Band info: Bandcamp | Facebook